Understanding Animals

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 1 week ago

I’ve discussed the nature of the need to understand animals before, as well as my experiences with them.

Check.  All of the above.  I have fallen off, been thrown off, bitten, run over, kicked, and just about anything that can happen on or around a horse.  I have ridden horses all day long, and I do mean all … day … long, and gotten on to do it again the next day.  And the next day.  And the next day.  I have fed them, herded them, doctored them, and assisted them to mate.  If you’ve never witnessed horses mating first hand (and I’m not talking about watching the Discovery Channel), it can be a violent affair.  I’ve ridden with saddles and then also (in my much younger years) bareback over mountain tops along narrow trails while running the herd).  The hardest ride was bareback and (on a dare) without a bridle, only the halter.

From the age of fourteen and beyond into my early twenties, I worked weekends and summers at a Christian camp above Marietta, South Carolina named Awanita Valley (and Awanita Ranch in Traveler’s Rest).  We trained and trail rode horses, fed them and cared for them, hiked the trails and cleared them of snakes and yellow jacket nests (have you ever been on a horse when it came up on a yellow jacket nest?).

When we weren’t doing that, we were cutting wood, hauling supplies, digging ditches, and baling hay.  My boys did the same thing, and Daniel later (before the Marine Corps) worked for Joey Macrae in Anderson, South Carolina, an extraordinary professional horseman, breaking and training horses.  I have ridden in the rain, blazing sun, and snow.  I have seen my son Joshua and his horse buried up to his thighs in snow, and watched him ride the horse up from sinking in the drift and stay on him while keeping the horse and him safe.

I was preaching at that point to LEOs, and explaining that you need to understand the affects of voice volume, timbre, pitch, etc., the calmness of your voice and demeaner, nature of eye contact and body movements, etc., on the behavior of the animal.  The animal must trust you and agree to a relationship.  If that doesn’t happen, in most cases, the animal will kill you.  So you learn from someone who knows how to do it, or you learn from the school of hard knocks.

Here is a related instance of failing to understand animals (or simply not caring).

Medina Spirit, the horse that finished first in this year’s Kentucky Derby but failed a drug test after the race, died after suffering a heart attack Monday at a Southern California racetrack, trainer Bob Baffert said. The trainer said Medina Spirit died following a workout at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.

Baffert attorney Craig Robertson initially confirmed the death to CBS News. The California Horse Racing Board said in a statement a necropsy would be performed at a lab run by the University of California, Davis, and a cause of death can’t be determined until the examination and toxicology tests have been completed.

The 3-year-old colt died immediately after collapsing near the finish line on Santa Anita’s main track Monday morning, the board said.

“My entire barn is devastated by this news,” Baffert said in a statement. “Medina Spirit was a great champion, a member of our family who was loved by all, and we are deeply mourning his loss.”

Medina Spirit is the 10th horse to die while training at the track this year, according to the California Horse Racing Board. Nine other horses died while racing at the track in 2021, according to the board. In 2019, racing at the track was temporarily suspended twice amid a spike in horse fatalities.

Before you go there, I know what you’re going to say.  The animal perished because it was fed PEDs.

No … that’s not right.  No it didn’t.

I’ve tried to point this out before in previous posts.  The notion you are constantly exposed to in American western movies about horses running at a full gallop for miles and miles and miles is just false.  Horses cannot do that.  Their hearts will explode if you try to force a horse to do that.  American westerns perpetrate a lie.

Horse racing is immoral.  Greyhound racing is immoral.  They should both be illegal because they inflict suffering for man’s pleasure.  There isn’t an iota of difference between horse racing and dog fighting, which is also immoral.  You are forcing the animal to do something that runs contrary to its nature and is dangerous to its health.

Man was designed to run a long ways over long distances, and man’s body has internal triggers, clocks, and gages to tell him when to stop, when to hydrate, when to replenish, when this is “fast enough for me,” and so forth.  Animals do what they are told to do when they trust us.

The horse shouldn’t have trusted the trainer or rider.  The horse cannot tell otherwise.  The trainer and rider should be ashamed.  They killed the horse.

The good man cares for the life of his beast.  Because God says so (Psalm 50:10, Proverbs 12:10, Genesis 1:25, Proverbs 27:23, Matthew 10:29).


  1. On December 7, 2021 at 12:00 am, Frank Clarke said:

    “Greyhound racing is immoral. … You are forcing the animal to do something that runs contrary to its nature and is dangerous to its health.”

    As applied to greyhounds, that is categorically untrue. Greyhounds retired from racing are given to their new owners with the understanding that — should they slip their leash, they are GONE, baby, and will be recovered only when they themselves have decided that they’ve had enough exercise for the day — if they survive. They’re not the sharpest knives in the drawer.

    My daughter is the Adoption Coordinator for a greyhound rescue in Gainesville FL. One of her dogs has excavated a moat in her yard by running as if it’s still on the track, still closing on that dwatted wabbit. She’s unable to correct this behavior, so she lives with it.

  2. On December 7, 2021 at 12:06 am, Herschel Smith said:

    This is not “categorically untrue.” They are doing what they’ve been trained to do, and they also need exercise every day, just as we all do.

    But running them against other animals is the subject.

    And I have several Greyhound owners in the area, and it’s ABSOLUTELY UNEQUIVOCAL that their common advice is that they are “couch potatoes.” They want the exercise daily, but want to sleep and lay around about 23 hours out of every day.

    Check your facts before commenting.

  3. On December 7, 2021 at 12:26 am, Herschel Smith said:

    Racing Greyhounds. One death every three days. That’s dated information.


    Because you’re forcing them to do something that runs contrary to its nature when you force them to live in cages to train to run against other animals for your pleasure and entertainment.

    And I insist that you read and factor in the Scripture I referenced, or the comments will be dismissed as incomplete.

    You are a libertarian. I am a Christian libertarian.

  4. On December 7, 2021 at 1:57 pm, Fred said:

    Dominion is one of the most interesting aspects of God’s created order. Horses are huge and can easily kill men but with open hearted purpose and a steady hand they can be made to serve.

    Dominion is not the taking of power over God’s creation, it’s specific and limited authorities and grants from our Holy Creator. Dominion is not ownership, it’s stewardship of that put under a man’s charge.

    Dominion comes with authority from God. The term animal husbandry is not a cosmic error. It describes Dominion through the role of a man and father.

    Dominion also appears in that men are created in God’s image. (Genesis 1:27) When men waste or abuse those creatures God gives, we abuse the image of God in us thereby we deny God through rejecting the very purpose of a man; to fear God and keep His commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13). This is destructive because it ruins the glory God demands through us (1 Corinthians 10:31) as His Dominion recipient.

    Made in the image of God we have zero authority to be as God for this is idolitry of the first order. Nebuchadnezzar with the golden (self) image statue, and Antiochus Epiphanes come to mind, along with perhaps Titus when he stood in the temple during the Jewish wars. Ours is a subordinate role to the Creator.

    Not only Psalm 50:10 but verse 11 with it: “I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.”

    Somewhere nearby to you, nobody is watching it but, there is a squirrel, now checking his winter stores, shoring up his nest, and foraging for sustanance. God is there with him deriving pleasure in its activities. God knows him! You may have put yourself at the center of God’s creation but no, you’re not the only thing He has going. To think that God is involved with that creature’s doings and caring for it too brings perspective.

    “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” Revelation 4:11

    And not only God’s glory but all things were created for His own pleasure.

    “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” Psalm 24:1

    It’s all His, it all belongs to Him. When you abuse or destroy those things which don’t belong to you then you are no better than a thief in the night seeking the spoil of Holy God’s creation.

    God’s purpose in creating you was to bring Him glory in the tending of that which which gives Him pleasure.

    “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” Genesis 2:15

    But you, through your sin, made it all toil under the curse of sin. For this, despite your wickedness, God loved you so very much, that He gave His only begotten Son to be crucified, yay, tortured to death, to pay your penalty. Jesus has ransomed you from sure hell if only you would believe.

    Because sin entered into the world, and death by sin, all men die. Cain rose up against Abel and blood was spilled in sin but God gave Eve Seth at which time men began to cry out to the Lord for salvation from sin and death.

    “And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.”

    Call upon the Lord. For thousands of years men have called to Him, and He being involved with you and providing for you and deriving pleasure from you is sure to hear when you call, that He might also get glory through your salvation.

  5. On December 7, 2021 at 4:55 pm, luke2236 said:

    My guess is that they gave the poor horse the ‘covid’ shot…

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This article is filed under the category(s) Animals and was published December 6th, 2021 by Herschel Smith.

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